I was obsessed with Pringles. Despite all the local varieties of chips on offer, as well as the literal dozens of crispy fried snacks that Mum bought from door-to-door vendors— mirgunda, kuradya, saandge, and chikodya that puffed up like a gossamer skirt when dunked in hot oil—nothing tasted as good as the Original-flavour Pringles, sitting daintily in their tubes. They weren’t liberally doused in masala that would stain your fingers and despite my usual fondness for licking the spicy chip-dust off, eight-year-old me found the plain salted immensely classy.
My favourite thing to do was to make a two-inch stack of the Pringles, and try to bite into the whole thing like a cake.
Mum began buying us the expensive chocolate syrup, to stir into cold milk for hot summer afternoons, but I had long stopped asking for Pringles. I had no idea what they even cost, assuming them to be unbelievably, crushingly expensive. I thought of them every time we went to the store and every time, I reached for the local brand instead.Even when I began earning, and could very well go into a store and just buy myself a tin. I never did. I knew they cost many times what a packet of Lay's did and it all seemed so wasteful, so unnecessary. To me, they represented Rich People Food; that singular can of chips assumed mythic proportions. Through a craving nurtured through childhood, they became both an irresistibly delicious gateway to the bright, shiny life, and a needless extravagance, perfectly replaceable by less expensive brands. Pringles had grown into something I had to earn, something I deserved only when I was a richer, more successful person.
Even when I began earning, and could very well go into a store and just buy myself a tin. I never did.